Thousands of pensioners gathered in a central square in Rome to voice their opposition to the government’s recent changes to the country’s pension plan

The protests are a response to the recent decision by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his coalition partners, the Northern League, to increase Italy’s retirement age to 67 by 2025.

Italian workers are accusing the government of implementing reform measures too late and following instructions dictated by other European nations.

Italian opposition parties believe Rome should tax properties and residents with assets, rather than increasing the country’s retirement age and cutting public expenditure.

Rome has been pressured to implement economic reforms and budget cuts to reassure investors worried about the country’s huge debt ratio that is second only to Greece.

There is growing fear among EU leaders that Italy could be sucked into a crisis that has already claimed Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Rome is facing a nearly two-trillion-euro debt that is 120 percent of its Gross Domestic Product.

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